Google is accused of tracking users while in incognito mode of the world’s most popular web browser — Google Chrome. The tech giant has been ruled by a judge recently that it’ll have to face a lawsuit from plaintiffs who accuse Google Chrome of tracking users while they use incognito mode. A class-action lawsuit has been filed in the United States that alleges that the Chrome browser still allows websites to collect the personal information of users.
According to the complaint, which was originally filed in June 2020, “Google knows who your friends are, what your hobbies are, what you like to eat, what movies you watch, where and when you like to shop, what your favorite vacation destinations are, what your favorite color is, and even the most intimate and potentially embarrassing things you browse on the internet — regardless of whether you follow Google’s advice to keep your activities private.”
The Verge points out that the class action lawsuit against Google seeks damages to the tune of at least $5billion. And, a federal US judge has reportedly ruled that the tech giant has to face this lawsuit as it did not notify users of it being engaged “in the alleged data collection while the user us in private browsing mode,” per a report from Bloomberg.
Google Chrome in Incognito Mode Allegedly Tracks Users
Although it’s a fact that the incognito mode in web browsers does not make a user “invisible” to the web, and neither Google Chrome is designed for that. But the allegations on Google are that it collects users’ data and allows websites to collect personal information without notifying them. However, a spokesperson from the tech giant has said that the company would ” defend ourselves vigorously” in the lawsuit. He said, “…. we clearly state each time you open a new incognito tab, websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session.”
We don’t know to what extent the allegations are true, but Google Chrome indeed gives a clear warning to users while launching a new incognito window. You can see this by yourself in the attached picture. The web browser clearly notifies users that it won’t save their browsing data or information, but their activity may still be visible to ISPs, websites, and network managers. This notice appears on all platforms that run Chrome, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It remains to see whether Google pays this fine or not, but if the lawsuit is only about Chrome not notifying users about data collection, then Google seems to be right.